RBNY Notebook: Honesty and Tactics

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

By ANTHONY J. MERCED

Red Bulls logoThe New York Red Bulls took a step in the right direction last week against Toronto, drawing a particularly difficult game while also implementing a new tactical system. Coach Jesse Marsch attempted to wrestle more freedom for his creative players — Sacha Kljestan and Bradley Wright-Phillips — and accomplished that in spurts, which led to a more positive team spirit during the week.

“I think we’re all honest with ourselves to say that we haven’t been at our best in the beginning stages of the season,” Marsch said. “Now, that’s O.K. and we’re going through certain moments but I’m trying to find a way to get the combination of players, to get the mentality right, to find a way to spark this group a little bit.”

New York (5-6-2, 17 points) has one game remaining on its three-game home stand at Red Bull Arena with the always troublesome New England Revolution (4-4-4, 16) as the opponent on Saturday night. Last season both teams split the season series one game a piece with New York winning the home leg, 1-0. This season New England, much like New York, suffered through a stuttering start but has begun to put the pieces together, losing only one game in its last six and looking to extend its winning streak to three games. The Red Bulls have taken only one point from the two previous home matches.

While that does weigh on Marsch’s mind, his team’s performance against Toronto shows it has the ability compete against a strong team.

“I was really happy with how everyone poured their hearts into it,” Marsch said. “I think that can be something we hang our hats on, which I talked about after the game. And now we’ve got another big game coming up against New England, so we’ll make sure we’re ready for that.”

Adams and U.S. U-20 Team Start Fast

Tyler Adams and the United States U-20 national team are in nearly assured of advancing to the first knockout stage at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in South Korea. After two games, the U.S. is in first place in Group F after an opening 3-3 draw against Ecuador and Thursday’s 1-0 win over Senegal. The U.S. is assured of finishing third in the group, which would mean moving on. A victory, and possibly a draw against Saudi Arabia early Sunday would give the U.S. the group title and a second-round match against the second-place team from Group E, depending on the result between Senegal and Ecuador.

Adams has been a key player for Coach Tab Ramos, playing 86 minutes against Ecuador and going the full 90 against Senegal.

Like Senior Team, Red Bulls II Struggles 

New York Red Bulls II (3-5-2, 10) suffered their third straight defeat in the United Soccer League and their first at MSU Park, losing to the Ottawa Fury last Saturday The game was an exciting 4-3 goal fest with New York showing brilliance on offense but little competence on defense. The shift of wing back Justin Bilyeu to center back remains a work in progress, as has been the a rotation of other defensive players.

One positive has been the play of Brandon Allen, 23. Since joining the team a few weeks into the season, he has been the most dangerous offensive player for Coach John Wolyniec. Allen has scored six goals in only eight games and has provided two assists. But his chance of being called up to the first team appear to be slim with Fredrik Gulbrandsen‘s recent strong play.

Red Bulls II hosts Charleston at 2 p.m. on Sunday.